Gosport Marine Festival brings water fun for all the family to Haslar Marina while encouraging youngsters to try their hand at something new
MUSIC filled the air in Gosport as young people took to the water to try their hands at kayaking, sailing, and paddle boarding.
Gosport Marine Festival welcomed local people to Haslar Marina for a family fun day of water events – with organisers estimating that about 350 people got out on the water.
Former First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, the festival’s guest of honour, opened the event along with the mayor of Gosport, Cllr Mark Hook.
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Barry Corke, chairman of the Gosport Marine Festival and organiser of the event, attended the event along with his grandchildren.
He said: ‘It’s all for the kids of Gosport - the whole aim of this is to get young people at sea.’
Younger children enjoyed windsurfing, paddleboarding and kayaking at the Cockle Pond, while older children took part in dinghy sailing, kayaking and rowing in Haslar Marina.
There was also an Inspiration Zone, bringing together local marine companies offering careers advice to young people wanting to work in the marine industry.
Many visitors came to see the range of historic ships such as the Steam Pinnace 199 and HMS Medusa, which were joined by a Border Force Coastal Patrol Vessel, the Alert.
Circo Rum Ba Ba women’s theatre troupe brought an enormous inflatable sperm whale for a performance which ran several times throughout the day.
Youngsters could also take part in a number of land-based hands-on activities, such as learning how to bandage and how to make a knotted keyring.
Susannah Hart from the Marine Advertising Agency said: ‘It’s a whole day of entertainment for free.
‘A community event, by the community, for the community.’
Organised by Portsmouth Harbour Marine in partnership with Gosport Borough Council, the event was entirely run by an estimated 150 volunteers.
Gosport entertainers performed sea shanty-style songs, while Gosport Hospital Radio offered help with the sound.
Visitors enjoyed stalls from organisations such as The Diving Museum, Gosport and Fareham Vikings, the Sea Cadets, and the Scouts.
The event, which cost around £5,000, was made achievable thanks to sponsorship.
Haslar Marina allowed organisers to use the site, as well as sponsoring security and the toilets, and Gosport Borough Council provided infrastructure.
Barry said: ‘Hampshire County Council has also got behind this event.
‘The Andrew Simpson organisation provided help with sailing, paddle boarding and canoeing.’